Student loan forbearance is one measure being taken to help Americans deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
As you might know, the Biden administration paused student loan payments for another three months in early January. As a result, repayments will begin on May 1. Scammers, however, will find ways to trick borrowers once payments resume. Scammers call, text and e-mail borrowers to confuse them about repayments in order to steal personal information and money, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
How Can You Avoid Student Loan Scams? Here are four tips!
- Research the Lender
Before working with a company, read business profiles on the Better Business Bureau website.
At ftc.gov/StudentLoans, the FTC also provides resources on student loan scams. Report suspected scams at BBB.org/ScamTracker if you have been a victim. Remember, never pay an upfront fee. Companies cannot charge you before helping you.
- Never Pay a Fee Upfront for Help
If you pay upfront to reduce or eliminate your student loan debt, you may not receive help – or your money back. Consumers can apply for loan deferment, forbearance, repayment and forgiveness, or discharge programs directly through the U.S. Department of Education or their loan servicer, free of charge. The only people promising fast loan forgiveness are scammers. Scammers often pose as government agencies to lure students into their schemes.
- Never Give Out Your Personal Information
Never give out your federal student aid ID, Social Security number, or other personal information to anyone contacting you. This information can be used by scammers posing as student loan servicers to log into your account, change your contact information, or even divert your payments to them. Rather than giving out your FSA ID, call or contact your servicer.
- Utilize Identity Theft Protection
With identity theft protection, it is easier to identify an issue before it turns into a costly one. Identify theft protection services alert you when there is suspicious activity and your personal information is compromised. You receive an alert, so you can help secure your accounts by taking the necessary steps. As part of identity theft protection, you can monitor your credit report to receive alerts if someone has borrowed money in your name.
Is your personal information on the dark web? Make sure your identity isn’t at risk!